Privatizing hospitals would give veterans another option

To the Daily:

An editorial last week (Blood, sweat and now tears, 03/08/2007) cited the privatization of the Walter Reed Medical Center’s staff as a cause for the hospital’s “inefficiency and incompetence.” While that’s true, the editorial board overlooked the sad situation as an example of the dangers of government-run ventures – especially when it comes to health care.

Government-run ventures are perfect places for tragedies because their occupants are trapped there. The only things patients at Walter Reed Hospital could do to improve their situation was write their representatives or wait for the public exposure of their horrific situation. What if this took place in a private hospital? The patients would leave!

If this tragedy can happen at Walter Reed, the “crown jewel of America’s veteran facilities,” just think of what would happen in a universal health care system.

Patrick Zabawa
Engineering sophomore

University shouldn’t bow to demands of greedy RIAA

To the Daily:

Paul Howell, the Univeristy’s chief information technology security officer, recently sent an e-mail to students regarding the Recording Industry Association of America and file sharing. While I am no longer a student and no longer use the University network, I was disappointed to see the University bending to the will of a powerful special interest group. Instead, the University should be protecting the privacy of its students.

By aiding the RIAA in matching IP addresses to users, the University is surrendering students to a battle they cannot win and fines they cannot afford. I understand that illegal file sharing is against the network guidelines, but if this is the case, Howell should be approaching the perpetrators himself. Simply handing students over to a greedy, opportunistic, monopolistic third party only helps to bolster these corporations’ bottom lines.

Jessie Tanner
Alum

Try to understand feminist arguments before refuting them

To the Daily:

As a women’s studies major, feminist and LGBT advocate, I was intrigued to learn that there was an viewpoint about feminism in a recent edition of the Daily (Don’t be afraid to challenge feminism, 03/06/07). As I quickly flipped through the pages, I was anxious and already slightly angry, expecting a thoughtless, frivolous commentary on feminism in general.

Instead, I found something else. I was not shocked or angry or even all that bothered by James Dickson’s viewpoint. The response that he offered to the F-Word’s suggestions about sexual assault are common responses by those who do not have first-hand experience with sexual assault and even by some of those who do.

I can understand Dickson’s desire to find a concrete solution to the problem of sexual assault. However, what the community needs to realize is that lights around campus and an escort service aren’t going to do the trick, as he suggests. According to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, 80 percent of those who came to its office to receive services because of sexual assault in 2002-2003 were assaulted by an acquaintance.

Not only that; the 1997 statistics from the Department of Justice show that three-fourths of those who experienced sexual assault knew the perpetrator beforehand. This indicates that although preventative measures such as lighting and escort services are important, they will not fix the larger problem of sexual assault.

If I invite a boyfriend/friend/classmate/neighbor/co-worker into my home or meet him at a party and am sexually assaulted, all of the outside precautions aren’t going to do me much good. Like I said, stranger rape does occur and should be fought, but it’s the more abstract issue of acquaintance rape that the F-Word is trying to battle with their cries against a “rape culture,” a culture in which some men sometimes (not all the men, all the time) think that it’s OK to use coercion and force in a sexual encounter with a woman.

Although I do understand why people want to see something actually being done, maybe they should all find out a little more about the issues at hand and what exactly groups like the F-Word are doing.

Maybe it’s not as silly or extreme as you think.

Alexia Moreland
LSA junior

Sulfide mine a bad deal for state economy and the environment

To the Daily:

In light of the Michigan Student Assembly Environmental Issues Commission’s Earth Week, I would like to draw attention to the proposed sulfide mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Mining naturally evokes a negative response in any environmentalist, but these industrial operations are necessary. Without the nickel derived from such mines, we would not have the batteries that run our laptops and cell phones. However, as with any economic deal, the risks must be carefully weighed with the rewards.

First, the risks: When sulfide rock is exposed to air and water, sulfuric acid is produced. This gas is fatal to local wildlife, especially that of aqueous environments like the head-waters of the Salmon Trout River, which are located directly above the proposed mine. These waters are the only viable breeding ground for the coaster brook trout in the Upper Peninsula. This trout and the pristine waters that are its home fuel the tourism industry of the region – an industry Michigan depends on while the auto industry struggles.

Even though the Department of Environmental Quality purports that the permit for this mine has been held to exemplary standards, never before has a sulfide mine been built without subsequent acid drainage.

Still, what should really alarm the public is the true economic assessment. The 120 jobs that the Kennecott Minerals Corporation claims it will create are temporary; the mine will be exhausted within 10 years. Such boom-and-bust job creation can only hurt Michigan’s economy in the long run. Moreover, approval of the Kennecott mine will set an important developmental precedent in the mineral-rich region.

People should ask themselves: Are the environmental, aesthetic and cultural risks really worth a few years of drilling to profit a London-based company and a score of future mines?

Last week, the Department of Environmental Quality withdrew its approval of the project, citing transparency concerns in the permit process. This delay allows environmentalists a valuable opportunity to protest state approval, especially with public hearings being rescheduled. A loud environmental response is absolutely necessary.

Kalen Pruss
LSA Freshman

The letter writer is a member of the environmental committee for the University chapter of the College Democrats.

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